Please help, mentally dying. False memory OCD. - OCD-UK


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Please help, mentally dying. False memory OCD.

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Hey all, I need help. I need help as I’m currently struggling with False memory OCD, im scared as it could be real event OCD. So, when I was 14-15 I hit puberty (late bloomer) and my use of porn increased. I knew of porn much younger at like 10. When I was 15 I was watch all sorts of porn and I kept imagining myself having sex and I always thought about it. I never felt scared or ocd of harming anyone, I just imagined sex 24/7. Last year when I was 16, I was terrified I was a rapist. I kept going over a memory in my head where I could’ve raped someone and a memory sprung in my head where I rubbed myself on my girlfriends buttocks when I was 15, but I don’t know if this actually happened. This is because I remember looking at her and not doing anything but I also remember worrying about her being pregnant, now I’ve never had sex and we’ve since broke up, but everytime I think of this memory it’s like I’m watching myself do it, It doesn’t feel like me doing it. Every detail which, to me, I’d remember changes like, how long it was, what it felt like and what she was wearing or how she was lying. It constantly changes and this to me is a sign it’s not reliable. I have ocd and i over think everything, this memory has came up 3 times, and I don’t know exactly when it would’ve taken place but everytime this memory is changed completely and it’s added too like I remember having a feeling, a feeling I can’t remember and it shocked me but I feel like this is my ocd trying to convince me it happened. Sometimes it makes sense it didn’t happen, but then I think “why would I think she’s pregnant if it didn’t happen?” I remember memories of me worrying and searching pregnancy symptoms, but it’s like an ocd memory I instantly believed. I don’t know what to do. Please help.

51 Replies

No, it's just OCD. It's normal for a teenager to think about sex a lot. And this is an overactive imagination playing tricks on you.

The imagination can be very powerful, and things that aren't real can appear real. Are there any professionals you could talk this over with? A therapist or psychiatrist?

Having OCD means that normal thoughts can take on meanings they don't actually have, and appear real when they only happened in your head. And the more you think about these false memories, the stronger they become and the more you think they're real.

It's clear that you're not a rapist. It's the OCD attaching itself to whatever's uppermost in your mind, and like most teenagers, sex is uppermost quite a lot!

Hi! Thank you for your reply. It means a lot! I’ve dealt with this for 2 years, it’s become apart of my life. It felt so real but not at the same time. The images feel so real but not like it was me. The anxiety is real and I think that’s what makes me think it’s all real. My imagination has always been quite powerful so that doesn’t help me haha. I just feel like believing it’s a false memory is wishful thinking Cus this has dominated my life so much. It’s ruined me; demolished my self confidence and just me in general and it’s honestly horrible. It’s one of those things I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, if I had one. I have cried myself to sleep over this, and that’s my lowest point. Thank you so much, also I try to see in on a logical stand point, there was never evidence of rape and she would have definitely woke up. Even writing that fills me up with anxiety as I couldn’t imagine hurting anyone:( I’m going to see a Therapist on the 11th of this month so I hope that helps! It’s been 2 years of constant rumination for me, but I have doubted this memory before, but that’s when I first found out about OCD.

That's great that you're going to a therapist. False memory can be very powerful, but you don't need to let it spoil your life. Best of luck.

Is it possible for false memories to feel real? Like really real? I get moments I know it didn’t happen, then moments where I’m so anxious. Also, I feel like I can remember a “feeling” or sensation, is this false too?

It certainly is possible. Remember how real dreams can feel. I can remember dreams where the sensations felt really real, and the emotions too, so much so that I've needed to convince myself I was actually dreaming!

Thank you, I can’t convince myself this is false. There’s too much fear surrounding it and I’m just terrified. Thank you so much

I went through this too!!! Horrible! Kept thinking I had done something awful and felt tsk terribly but I hadn’t and I felt plagued by the fear I had! Simple things you might want to try—like eating fresh fruits, veggies, avoid stress, get rest and take vitamins is also important. Try no sugar or low carb until your appt. Try to eat meat and veggies, stay away from alcohol, caffeine. I’m sorry your having a tough time. Talk to friends, family, or maybe a church/school counselor too.

Stay strong!

It's fear that makes this false memory stick in your mind and convinces it that it is real. It didn't actually happen. Fear is a powerful emotion and can take over from rational thought. At the moment the fear mechanism in your brain is firing on all cylinders and reinforcing a false memory.

It's best to not ruminate about it, because the more you go over it the more real it feels. It just reinforces it.

How fast can they form? Because within weeks after it supposedly happened I remember asking what if she’s pregnant and because I’m a hypochondriac I searched for ways it could’ve been possible. It feels so real in parts, but I can’t even remember first remembering it, I just know it got bigger and powerful each time. I can’t stop ruminating now and I feel like it happened:(

I don't think there's any rule about how quickly or slowly they form. It can be immediate, or it can be some while after.

However real it feels, just remember that your mind is playing tricks. Fear can make the mind do things that are not rational, such as imagining that you've raped someone or got them pregnant when you haven't actually had sex with them.

Believe me, there are real rapists, who really do rape people, but it is clear you are not one of them. Real rapists don't ruminate about it, they don't regret it or feel remorse, and they try to pin the blame on the victim. None of these things are you.

Hypnotists can make people believe things that aren't true. The mind is pliable and not always reliable!

Okay, that makes me feel better. So you think I just need to keep reminding myself it’s a false memory? Can I have underlying fears Cus I never consciously approached or thought of these fears before really, just one of those things that anyone are scared off. Does porn play a massive part in it? I agree with that, rapists wouldn’t feel guilty especially not instantly after doing it and they wouldn’t constantly ruminate. But my mind says “what if you tried” or something and changed your mind. Okay, thank you so much

The sort of people who ruminate about doing harm are the least likely to actually harm anyone. Having OCD means that random thoughts, like anyone has, take on an importance they don't actually have. The 'just supposing' becomes in your mind an actual event, when in reality it never took place. Fighting against OCD involves allowing such thoughts to pass in and out of your mind without holding onto them.

I don't know about porn having anything to do with it. A lot of people use porn, and some porn is harmless! But there is a lot of extreme porn that involves violence and humiliation and that isn't healthy. Also porn stars often have bodies that don't represent what most people are like.

Try to let go of this false memory. It might help to get professional help.

So you think I should just ignore it? Just tell myself it isn’t real? The thing with this memory is it constantly changes, that’s never happened with a memory before which is really weird. I’ve got an assessment on the 11th so hopefully that helps. This memory just feels so real so it will be hard to move on but I’ll try. It’s always hard in the morning

Try to ignore it. Don't question it, or interrogate it, don't try to push it away. Just let it alone.

The fact that this false memory is constantly shifting its shape should tell you that it is not reliable! I hope the assessment is helpful.

Try to keep busy in the mornings so your mind doesn't have spare capacity to ruminate. Be honest at the assessment, don't hold back.

What if another detail just randomly comes up? Like little details are just added, what do I do? Yeah you’re right it does keep changing which should give me my answer but it’s difficult to convince our OCD. Thank you

The best thing to do, if you can, is to just let them alone. If little details are added, acknowledge them and then get on with things. It's a difficult trick to master, but it helps if you can just allow them to be, without fighting them or pushing them away or struggling. They get fed up if you don't pay them attention and go away of their own accord usually!

I’ll try, I’ll just push it away. The memory doesn’t feel real, and that’s a releasing feeling. It doesn’t make sense either. I’m just wondering, does OCD have the ability to make a false thought? Like remembering “thinking” something? Because I’ve got a thought “you only live once” and I feel like I thought it about this memory but I’m not sure. My OCD has fixated on this now and it’s bringing all the anxiety back

That's one of the things OCD does, making false thoughts. In fact, we all have weird thoughts, but OCD insists on trying to give them meaning and holding onto them, instead of just letting them drift off.

Okay thank you so much. There’s just one thing I can’t shake, and it’ll be the last time I ask, in this memory I can remember myself feeling something. But that’s from me remembering it. I can’t remember anything about it but that’s what made me believe it was true for so long. I couldn’t explain the “feeling” if I tried but it makes the memory feel real. I don’t remember any other feeling I can just see myself pulling away and my head tells me because I felt something. I’ve never even had sex so I don’t even know.

It sounds very much to me like a memory of a memory. Memories often consist of feelings and other sensory experiences, even if they didn't actually happen to you. The images and feelings in your mind could be memories of things you may have watched on a film for example, which your imagination has taken on and then assumed it happened to you.

Memory and imagination can be very powerful, and because OCD makes you doubt things while demanding certainty, it can make you have trouble in working out what is real and what is imaginary.

It's also possible to have sensations of things that aren't physically present. For example, I've found myself watching, say, a cooking programme where someone squeezes and lemon, and suddenly I can smell lemon!

Yeah that makes sense. It honestly sounds exactly right, but I wouldn’t know where I thought it from. Maybe watching stuff online and picked it up. One thing I don’t get which gives me hope is this “feeling” constantly changes. I couldn’t describe it, but I looked online for what the feeling could be when I believed it to be true, it kept changing to fit my fear. The feeling never stuck as one. This whole memories come up around 3 times, the feeling only really came up the 2nd time and it instantly made me think I was a rapist but I know for a fact I never actually went through with it, I know this as fact Cus I didn’t feel anything and like you said I’d know, but what could the feeling had even been if I didn’t have sex with her so it’s constant back and forth. The memory doesn’t feel real at all but somethings I can’t answer in my head

That's just how OCD acts. It does, as you point out, shift its shape according to your fear.

Thank you so much. I’m just gonna take a leap and say it’s false:)

Just do it!

I’m trying so hard but my ocd just focuses on the same two details constantly shifting one after another after I’ve “solved” one and my brain instantly labels it as “solid proof” this has terrorised my life for 2 years, how do I possibly come back and train my brain? I’m thinking of going to my local crisis walk-in center but I’m terrified. They’ll think I’m insane. I just want my life back :(

That's just how to defeat OCD. It means training your brain!

The brain is very plastic, in that it can learn to do different things, or learn how to do things in a different way. CBT is about learning to think about mental health issues in a different way, and do things differently.

By all means go into your local crisis centre, but I think you really need a course of intensive CBT. I don't recall that you are on medication of any sort, but it could be a start to get a prescription for antidepressants if you don't already have one. It can relieve the worst of the OCD and make it easier to do CBT.

Don't be afraid of being thought insane. Having OCD is not the same as insanity. It is a recognized mental health condition and any crisis centre should know how to treat you. I know it can feel like you're insane, but it's just OCD!

I just don’t understand my OCD. It doesn’t make sense to me. My OCD does sound like other people’s OCDs. It doesn’t fit the stereotypes and it sends my mind on a tangent. I can’t handle it. I’ve had a friend go to a crisis center and it was the best thing for them. I’m just not made for this :(

Don't think that your OCD has to be like anyone else's. It doesn't. Each case of OCD is different, and you can have more than one of any type of OCD.

It's still OCD, however it manifests itself. The things each case of OCD has in common with others are obsession and compulsion!

And of course OCD doesn't make sense! People have all sorts of OCD obsessions. There is no text book standard to measure yours against. And the stereotypes are just that, stereotypes.

Do try the crisis centre if you think they could help.

Thank you Sally, I’m going too. It’s my only hope atm:(

Post and let us know how you get on.

I had my assessment and I’m feeling better. I’ve got a few questions just so I can understand my OCD.

Can OCD link things up falsely? Like I remember “praying” and my mind tells me I did after which doesn’t really make sense to me.

Does OCD make you remember “thinking” things? Like I remember thinking after but I can’t remember what I thought or where I was which I normally can.

That's great that you're feeling better. Make the most of your therapy, as it really can work. Perhaps not a complete cure, but enough to let you get on with living.

Having OCD certainly does make you link things up falsely. It can make you make connect things that are apparently unconnected. It can make you 'remember' things that didn't actually happen.

This is because, while everyone has little doubts of the 'Did I really think/say/do that? Is it really how I remember it?' having OCD makes you hold onto the doubt, go over and over it in your head and obsess and ruminate about it. The next thing you know, it has become a massive doubt that takes you over.

Then OCD makes it worse by demanding certainty, not doubt. And the more reassurance you get, the more you doubt.

CBT can really help you process these little doubts and allow you to move on.

It might be worth getting a self help book. Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is really helpful, as is The OCD Workbook, but there are quite a few on the market.

Thank you! Yeah I will make the most of it.

When I ‘remember’ things the anxiety behind it make it feel so real. Like I can physically feel my face flushing. It makes it all feel so real. You’re right, the doubt is so strong and the what if is the hardest part of it all, it makes it so hard to move on.

You’re entirely right, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Personally I can’t wait to start CBT and I will look into self help books.

The worst part is when I’m just relaxing it feels like my body is use to the anxiety and panic and it still feels there which is so confusing to me. Also, I read about “real event OCD” and now I feel like my memory is a Real Event. What are the differences between the two?

It's the anxiety that fuels the feeling that it is real. Strong emotion gives a sort of supercharge to what we are experiencing.

I hadn't heard of 'real event' OCD before you brought it up, but when I googled it I knew what it is about. It means remembering something you actually did do and obsessing guiltily over it. Generally it involves harm you actually caused, and you go over and over it it your mind tormenting yourself about it, when the person you harmed has long since got over it. In a lot of cases the harm was minimal anyway.

A memory can be of a real event, and most memories are just this. But OCD can put false memories in your head. It's the little doubts that OCD turns into things that you think actually happened, when in fact they didn't.

It's pretty clear that you didn't rape anyone. Apart from anything else, I don't think actual rapists obsess over the harm they've caused. They enjoy hurting people. And that doesn't sound like you.

A false memory doesn't make something real. It may feel real, but that's the anxiety making it into something it isn't. Strong emotion makes something stick in your mind. For most people, a passing thought is just that. Having OCD can make what should be a passing thought something you hold onto and have trouble letting go of.

Yeah I can understand that: anxiety is such a hard emotion. I think it’s my OCD telling me it’s Real Event OCD but if it was Real event, the memory wouldn’t be changing constantly to fit my fear would it? When I’m using logic it’s easy but the doubts come back to me which is so hard to overcome.

I think my problem is I don’t remember NOT doing it so in my head it must’ve happened, which is irrational.

Yeah I get that, I’m definitely the exact opposite of wanting to hurt someone, let alone rape someone. Thank you for saying that :)

Thank you so much:)

So after my mental health assessment, I was told to go to my GP to talk with them about medication, I was talking to a practice GP who had 6 weeks till he was a fully qualified. He was actually well informed about OCD, he wanted to give me medication to monitor whether it helps or not but the other GP said I needed a letter from the crisis center telling them what medication they want me to have. This is confusing my already confused mind.

I told the GP all the details about my OCD and he confirmed it’s OCD, and said he’s read a lot about it and knows about mental health. But he told me it wasn’t “textbook OCD” and he said everyone with OCD knows their thoughts aren’t true and know that they aren’t what their thoughts tell them and know when memories are true or false, and he said me not knowing if it’s true or false is more than OCD. This just filled me with anxiety and what ifs. He said he didn’t mean too but I can’t help but think now. He described “delusions” and after him saying this my “memory” feels like a severe delusion but I KNOW it’s OCD. I’m just so confused, scared and back at square one. I was getting so much better now my hope is gone. I feel this confirms my worst fears and confirms all the memories are true because I should know if it was or not:(

It's good that your GP is quite well informed about OCD, but that doesn't mean he is an expert. A lot of OCD isn't 'textbook' though a lot of cases follow similar patterns.

It might be better for you to talk to an OCD therapist or a psychiatrist about it. The problem with OCD is that things can feel real, though rationally one knows they are false. The emotional centres in the brain are very powerful, and it can be difficult to ignore them. The rational parts of the brain can struggle when alarm bells are going off in the emotional parts of the brain.

I don't think that you are deluded beyond what OCD does to you. It's a mistake for your GP to use the word, as it carries all sorts of baggage, and implies psychosis.

Having OCD can be like having a faulty car alarm or house alarm. It goes off frequently, although there is nobody breaking in! And it's hard to ignore!

So these false memories may feel very 'real', but I think you know they are false. It's just so difficult to ignore them when they are making a noise in your head, so to speak. So don't think you're back at square one.

Yeah, I’m feeling a lot better today. I just seem to believe anything I’m told when OCD is involved.

Is it possible my false memory is an OCD delusion? Like what are the difference?

Thank you for your constant kind words, it helps so much! I know they’re false, I’m getting so much better but everytime a new detail “resurfaces” I believe it straight away and I find it so difficult. But after time, it becomes clear it’s false.

That's great. False memory, if you believe it, is a delusion, although it's a strong word to use. As I said, it carries with it an assumption of psychosis, although OCD isn't a form of psychosis. Most people with OCD know that what OCD is telling them is false, but the panic induced by the OCD thoughts is so strong that it's difficult for the rational part of the brain to be heard.

It's good that you are able to understand that new 'details' are false, though it takes a while to convince you. The fact that your false memory isn't stable is a good indication that it is false.

Yeah I did believe the false memory, I had no reason not too at the time. I never questioned it, everytime a detail came up, I believed it without question.

But now, thinking back I rememeber al this pretty much started as a “what if” I can’t remember exactly but is that possible? All this to start from a what if? I can’t actively remember how it unfolded but I’m guessing that’s where it’s all come from and why I can’t remember what happened “after” or before. My fear was Harm and pregnancy and the anxiety escalated it. Is that possible?

It often starts with a what if or just supposing! And then OCD makes it escalate until you actually believe it!

A feature of people with OCD is that we are afraid of causing harm. And that makes us afraid that we have actually caused it when we didn't mean to. People have believed some pretty bizarre things because OCD told them to! They haven't really believed it in their rational minds, only in their OCD minds.

Because our memories are often fragmentary, because we don't always remember everything in the order it happened, this leaves a lot of room for doubts. Mostly this doesn't worry people, but with OCD these doubts just take over.

Yeah that makes sense! I think my “what if” is what started mine off. I think fragments are real and I must’ve confabulated the memory to which I thought it happened. I can’t ever remember doubting it, I just believed it happened, but that’s because of the anxiety and OCD itself. I never actually thought about the memory until months after, where details were filled in. I know this now, I just need to keep my mind on this.

It just feels too good to be true, and my tablets made my self doubt so strong, I felt completely in denial. When I focus on one mental image, the anxiety just fills up and intensifies.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with a vivid imagination. But bits of memory can get jumbled up together and then imagination can fill in the blanks. Then it can become emotionally charged to the point where you think something happened when it didn't.

So the meds didn't work for you? They can be helpful, but not everyone gets on with them. There are lots of cautions about prescribing them for teenagers.

They work but they also make it worse; my minds telling me I’ve known the false memory for so long, it’s telling me I’ve known everything I know now back then and so on. It’s making good me constantly doubt OCD and False memories and keep ruminating which makes everything so much more vivid. There’s details I WOULD remember but I don’t, so it must be false. But, then my mind gets all irrational and tells me I’ve forgotten and when my OCD wears off all the details will come back:/

It's the ruminating that makes you doubt. And OCD makes a tiny doubt a massive one. I know it's difficult, but when the temptation to ruminate comes on, try to allow the thoughts in, but don't grapple with them or anything. Just let them be.

I'm sure that you know that there's nothing in this case to remember. It's just a false 'memory' and without the OCD, you'd realize that there is nothing to remember.

Hey! Quick update, I’m feeling amazing; I’ve finally been able to ACKNOWLEDGE that all this is OCD. The past few days have been amazing. Little to no anxiety and no rumination.

I’ll admit, I fell into rumination a couple times, but I got myself out. One thing that’s lingering is I tried to reenact my memory stupidly and the anxiety kicked off and it made me feel like the memory is true. From false feelings, false fear. I know this is false because the memory has been telling me it happened one way the whole time, now this other one feels right, not only that but every single way I re-enacted it became “how it happened”. Plus, i re-enacted getting into position, but I still don’t know what comes after. In my head, I feel as though all scenarios I re-enacted are false but the doubt is there, what’s your advice on that? But other than that, I’m amazing!

That's brilliant! If the OCD and false memory returns, try dealing with it the way you have done so successfully. Although OCD thrives on doubt, you can still learn to manage to deal with the doubt.

So I know completely that the “feeling” I remember feeling is false. I know that now. And it gave me a relief and it’s now evolved I tried to have sex? Lol there’s no winning.

The only memory in my head now that feels real is I remember pulling up her black top. I don’t see what’s under, It constantly changes how and I didn’t take it off in my head, i just pull it up and then what comes after is a mystery. Have I forgotten? Distorted the memory? I don’t know. That’s the only thing that feels real. I have been doubting a lot unfortunately.

I'm afraid OCD does come and go. But the point is to recognize that and deal effectively with it. That means not actively grappling with the false memory, just letting it come into your head, acknowledging it and then letting it go.

Hey you can WhatsApp me on+233541905726. Maybe I can help you

I will!

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